Willy Cahill has been an assistant U.S. Olympic Judo coach twice and a U.S. Paralympic Judo coach twice. At the 2000 Paralympic Games, the U.S. Team took two gold medals, the first for the nation. His San Bruno dojo has consistently produced some of the nation’s most accomplished judoka, including more than a thousand state, national and international medalists. Among those are Olympic silver medalist Lynn Roethke, 1984 Olympian Brett Barron, who was Cahill’s student, and women’s Olympic Judo Team Coach Corinne Shigemoto, now USA Judo’s Chief Operating Officer. Cahill is also a co-founder and CEO of the Blind Judo Foundation, which promotes the sport for the visually impaired.
When Cahill was assistant coach of the 1984 Olympic Team, Eddie Liddie took bronze and Robert Berland took silver. When Cahill was assistant coach of the 1988 Men’s Olympic Team, Kevin Asano took silver and Mike Swain took bronze. Raul Tamayo, another Cahill student, went on to coach the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team in Beijing.
Cahill traces his roots in judo to his father, Professor John Cahill Sr., who studied jujitsu under acclaimed instructor Henry S. Okazaki in Hawaii, and then founded the first Cahill’s Judo Academy in Daly City in 1948.
Cahill Sr. passed away in 1962 at the age of 50. The next year, Willy Cahill built a new dojo in San Bruno, CA, in his father’s honor. It is from his dojo that so many accomplished elite judoka have come.
Recently, Cahill was interviewed alongside student Jordan Mouton in the Youtube documentary series, “Blind Judoka,” which detailed the athlete’s journey toward the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and the injury that forced her to withdraw. To see the films, go tohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe6hCuacQmI.
Yoshihiro “Yosh” Uchida is the founder and head coach of the San Jose State University judo program, one of the most important dojos in the country, producing numerous national and international champions including Olympic medalists Bobby Berland, Mike Swain, Kevin Asano and Marti Malloy.
Uchida led the nation’s first U.S. Olympic Judo Team to the very first Olympic judo competition, held in 1964 in Tokyo, where U.S. judoka Jim Bregman took a bronze medal. His dojo at San Jose State was named a USA Judo National Training Site in 2007.
Uchida was the child of Japanese immigrants who worked on farms in California’s Imperial Valley. He graduated from San Jose State University, became a student-coach of the school’s judo program and was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II as a medical technician. He completed his degree at San Jose after the war and restarted the judo program there.
He joined efforts with Henry Stone, UC Berkeley’s judo coach, to develop competition rules, including a weight-class system, and created the first AAU National Championships in judo in 1953. Uchida went on to organize the first National Collegiate Judo Championships in 1962.
Having served several terms as President of the USA Judo Board of Directors, Uchida’s contribution to the sport remains strong to this day. Last summer, he was present at the Olympic Games in London to watch his student at the San Jose State University National Training Center, Marti Malloy, take a bronze medal.